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  • Stop It, Stupid — Five Steps to Stopping the “Stupid Cycle”

    Five tips from Rosalie K. Tatsuguchi, Ph.D., author, Why Smart People Do the Same Dumb Things: Causes and Cures from Buddhism and Science

    • Step back. In order to break the cycle and stop repeating your mistakes, you must first recognize and admit that things are not working.
    • Embrace change. You must be adaptable enough to admit when you are wrong and brave enough to make the correction, even if it makes you uncomfortable.
    • Stop being a human sacrifice. Our society’s unspoken rules mandate helping others, even if they hurt you and are unappreciative of your sacrifice. Giving time, energy and money to unappreciative friends, family members and coworkers is a common bad habit.
    • Nurture Yourself First. Nurturing yourself is vital. It’s like putting on your own oxygen mask first before you help other passengers on a falling plane. If you don’t, you become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
    • Speak up and stand up. There’s nothing wrong with a selfless sacrifice every now and then. It is when you continue to allow others to take advantage of your reluctance to say “no” that you end up in trouble. Don’t hesitate to say, “No, I cannot do this."

    Meet Dr. Tatsuguchi at her book signing on Thursday, November 15, from 10AM to noon at the Kuakini Hospital Gift Shop (347 North Kuakini St.).

  • A Mouse Who Loves Trees

    Our little friend Wordsworth the Mouse has been very busy lately. He (with the help of Frances Kakugawa and illustrator Andrew Catanzariti) has a new adventure for you to read, Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!, has visited the Big Island and planted his very own koa tree with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, and has started up the Wordsworth Plant A Tree Society! Phew, that's a lot for a small mouse to do!

    Wordsworth's new book, Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! comes out on November 1. You can meet Wordsworth and Frances at Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall, at 1PM on Saturday, Nov. 3, when Frances will read from the new book. Purchases made on that day will help benefit the University of Hawai‛i at Mānoa Children’s Center.

    A second reading will be held on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‛i. The children's book reading begins at 11AM, but Frances will be holding presentations throughout the morning. Visit our website for the full schedule, along with a listing of her other events.

    As Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! begins, we learn that Wordsworth’s life has been full of changes — his best friend Emily has moved away, a new girl from Japan named Akiko is sitting in Emily’s chair at school, and worst of all, a bulldozer has invaded Wordsworth’s special koa grove where he thinks up new poems. What should Wordsworth do?

    “I would want someone to be nice to Emily,” thinks Wordsworth. So he and his friends, Eliot and Dylan, invite Akiko to teach them about Japanese poetry. And what a good thing, too, because it is Akiko who has a clever idea to save the neighborhood trees from being knocked down.

    In the book, Wordsworth's favorite tree is a koa tree. We purchased a tree from the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, where it will grow on private conservation land, helping to provide a habitat for native wildlife and preserve our natural resources. As luck would have it, Frances was able to take Wordsworth out to the Hamakua coast to plant his own tree! Here are a few photos from Wordsworth and Frances' tree planting adventure:


    In the introduction to Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! Frances and Wordsworth ask readers of all ages, far and wide, to each plant a tree in their own community. “It’s not only about trees being cut down where we live,” Frances writes. “Our children and their children must have trees in their future to hug and enjoy and sit under in the shade. Trees also help keep us alive and healthy.”

    Wordsworth wasn't the first one to plant a tree in honor of his new book, though. Frances' niece, Tammy Antonio, planted her Wordsworth tree quite a while ago, and it's already as tall as she is! Tammy planted a native ‘ōhi‘a lehua tree with beautiful orange blossoms in her garden in Hilo.

    Because she planted the first of what we hope will be many Wordsworth trees, Tammy gets to be Member #1 in Wordsworth's Plant A Tree Society. Frances hasn't signed it yet, but here is the certificate that Tammy will receive.

    If you would like to be a member of Wordsworth’s Plant A Tree Society and receive your own membership certificate, all you need to do is plant a tree for Wordsworth in your community (your backyard, your school, etc.) and post a photo of you with your tree on Wordsworth’s Facebook page. Please also tell us where you planted it and what kind of tree it is. (You can also email it to Wordsworth at wordsworth@bookshawaii.net.)

    Happy planting!

  • Makia Malo — Storyteller

    Storyteller and Kalaupapa resident Makia Malo had a busy week late last month, promoting the release of his memoir, My Name is Makia: A Memoir of Kalaupapa, co-written with veteran broadcast journalist Pamela Young.

    First, Makia and Pamela paid a visit to Pamela's home station, KITV, to talk with morning anchor Jill Kuramoto. Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos (see more at our photo album on Facebook) and watch the news clip here.

    Pamela gives Makia some words of encouragement before they go live on-air. Makia's given hundreds of storytelling presentations to the public, but he still was nervous!
    Jill Kuramoto, Makia Malo and Pamela Young.
    Makia gets a surprise visit from his grand-niece, Alyssa Malo.

    A real trooper, Makia got up early again (along with his wonderful friend and caregiver Sheldon, who drove Makia to all his events) to visit the Hawaii News Now station. This time, storyteller Jeff Gere accompanied Makia.

    Jeff and Makia talked to morning anchor Tannya Joaquin about the new book and the upcoming book signing event. Makia got a great surprise when his grand-niece, Alyssa, stopped in to say hello! Alyssa works for Hawaii News Now and said she looked up, saw the monitor and said, "That's my uncle!" She rushed over to the studio say hello. Makia is the last of her grandfather's siblings still living.

    See the rest of our photos at the full gallery on Facebook and watch the interview here.

    Makia Malo, center, with Jeff Gere and Tannya Joaquin.
    Pamela Young, Jeff Gere & Makia Malo at the Barnes & Noble book signing event.

    Makia's whirlwind of events culminated in the reading and book signing held at Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall, on September 29. Pamela Young and Jeff Gere read from My Name is Makia; Pamela read a portion of the introduction she wrote for the book, and Jeff read some of the stories Makia had invented, as well as some of the "memory vignettes" from the final section of the book.

    Dozens of people of all ages turned out to celebrate with Makia and get a copy of his memoir. Each copy was hand-stamped with Makia's signature (because of the damage Hansen's disease has wreaked on his hands, Makia has extreme difficulty holding a pen. We scanned a copy of his signature and made a large stamp so he could leave his imprint on each copy) and personalized by Pamela, who then added her own signature.

    Makia started by saying a few words of appreciation, and paying tribute to those friends and family he had at Kalaupapa who have passed on. Here's a short clip of Makia:


    Jeff reads from the final vignette of the book, called "Cemetery Gardens."


    A partial transcript of the excerpt Jeff reads from:

    There are gardens in the place called Kalaupapa. Gardens of headstones and wooden crosses, sculpted pieces and crypts that lie like pages of an open ledger, whose accounts have never been measured in assets, just liabilities. One life per headstone; one life per cross.

    Some of the gardens are clearly marked, enclosed by fences or the occasional low stone wall. There are many signs of those who were buried when the Homestead gave in to political expediency and the entire peninsula became both prison and haven for those with Hansen's disease. Then there are locations of earlier gardens overrun with thickets of Christmas berry, guava, and lantana. These were all but forgotten by the present-day folk. Awareness of them began only when cattle were being chased in and out of these hidden gardens, obvious signs of historic times.

    A few of the photos from the signing event (please see the rest in our Facebook photo album).

    Copies of "My Name is Makia" at Barnes & Noble.
    A friend whispers a special message in Makia's ear.
    A standing-room only crowd.
    After Makia stamped his name, Pamela personalized each copy for the recipient.
  • My Name is Makia: A Storyteller’s Tale of Life in Kalaupapa

    We are honored to present My Name is Makia: A Memoir of Kalaupapa by Makia Malo with Pamela Young, the second memoir from a Kalaupapa patient we have released, the first being Henry Nalaielua’s No Footprints in the Sand, published in 2006. We are humbled and honored to share their stories.

    Diagnosed with Hansen’s disease at the age of twelve, Makia Malo was exiled to the remote settlement of Kalaupapa on the rugged north coast of the Hawaiian Island of Moloka‘i. Malo lost his hands, his feet and his eyesight over the years, but never the vision or spirit that made him a celebrated Hawaiian storyteller and poet. My Name is Makia shares his inspiring story—of a child of Kalaupapa who grew up to become an award-winning writer, storyteller and instructor at the University of Hawai‘i.

    During its century as a virtual prison, more than 8,000 people were exiled to Kalaupapa, until the introduction of sulfone drugs in the 1940s.  Today a dwindling handful—fewer than 20—of patients remain. When his health allows, Malo numbers among them. Otherwise, he resides at Hale Mōhalu hospital in Honolulu.

    Few Kalaupapa patients have chosen to share their experiences in as public a manner as Malo, who has maintained a positive outlook despite the harsh realities of his life. “Yes, I wish my life had been different, but still it has been so much better than many of the [other] patients,” he points out.

    “I’d be grateful if people would remember all of us, the 8,000-plus who are dead and the handful of us hanging on… We lost so much. I hope in the future people learn from us. This is the lesson: No matter where you are, at what age, life can be hard. Life can take everything away from you in one snap of a finger and it doesn’t do you any good to sit there and whine about it. Take that cane and bang, bang your way around your problems. I have my memories. I have my stories.”

    My Name is Makia was crafted by veteran broadcast journalist Pamela Young from years of conversations with Malo combined with earlier attempts at documenting his life, written by himself and edited by his late wife, Ann. Woven throughout his narrative are transcriptions of many of the stories Malo has told to audiences around the world. Some are memories of his childhood. Others, as Young explains, “are myths, some are daydreams, with no beginning, end, or purpose.” She elaborates on the book’s genesis,

    “This book is the result of a  simple request Makia made [for a DVD copy of] a news special I produced, documenting thirty years of coverage in Kalaupapa, Belgium, and Rome…to give to his niece Noe ‘so I can leave her something after I go.’ I suggested she would be much happier with her uncle’s memoirs. And so began our weekly meetings at Hale Mōhalu hospital.”

    Please join us for a reading and book signing on Saturday, September 29 at Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall, 1PM. Pamela and Makia's dear friend, storyteller Jeff Gere, will read from Makia's book. Makia and Pamela will sign books following the reading.

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